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Cannon Beach Sandcastle Fun on June 8: Oregon Coast Fave Returns

Published 06/02/2019 at 5:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Cannon Beach Sandcastle Fun on June 8: Oregon Coast Fave Returns

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – One of the best loved events and traditions on the Oregon coast returns June 8, with the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest letting loose the sand sculptors to carve their momentary masterpieces at 9:30 a.m. (Photo above: Sandcastle Contest in the 1960s, photo courtesy Cannon Beach History Museum).

It’s the 55th year of the annual festival, which started way back in the ‘60s because – of all things – a tsunami. From those dark beginnings came one of the largest events on the entire Oregon coast, getting classified as an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department back in 2014, now one of only 22 events in that category in the state.

Dozens of teams of professional sand sculpture artists, amateur groups and families will create marvels in the sand during the festival. The Masters division teams compete for cash prizes and construct large, elaborate creations often utilizing construction forms similar to those used for pouring concrete in order to accomplish their monumental size.

While the main attraction happens all day on Saturday, June 8, it’s really a two-day affair with plenty going on Sunday as well.

A pancake breakfast kicks things off on Saturday morning at the American Legion, giving way to the sandcastle contest on the beach near Haystack Rock at 9:30 a.m. Final judging begins at 2:30 p.m, making 1-3 p.m. the best time for viewing completed sculptures. Tides will determine how long the sculptures stick around.

On Saturday night, look for live music starting at 7 p.m. and a beach bonfire with s’mores at 8 p.m. On Sunday morning, participants can enjoy the Singing Sands 5K fun run and walk starting at 9 a.m. on the beach at 2nd Street. (Registration starts at 8 a.m.)

Make reservations soon for this popular weekend as hotels typically sell out all rooms in advance,” said Cannon Beach Chamber spokesman Chris Olson. “Day-trippers should plan on arriving early. The Sandcastle Contest is the only day of the year when the beach is used for parking to accommodate the large crowds, but cars must be off the beach by 3 p.m. to avoid potential issues with the incoming tide.”

According to local newspaper clippings, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest has changed names more than once over the decades, with earlier references showing it as Cannon Beach Sandcastle Day Festival.

It all began in 1964, not long after a tsunami washed out the bridge between the town and Highway 101. An earthquake in Alaska caused that destructive wave, which wrecked parts of Seaside, other parts of the Oregon coast, and killed four children down in the Newport area.

The lack of a bridge left Cannon Beach locals a little stir crazy for awhile, but even once it was rebuilt, residents found the tourists weren’t coming back. By early summer of 1964, Cannon Beach held the first Sandcastle Day Festival to help get them to return to town.

The very first sandcastle event was low-key and a kind of an experiment, but one of a few tricks they tried in that respect.

In 1965, the second contest was much more widely publicized and more successful, and the rest is tourism history.

For more information on the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest weekend, contact the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce at (503) 436-2623 or visit cannonbeach.org/events-and-festivals/sandcastle-contest/ - Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours








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